Rajabala Bypoll: GHADC CEM restrained from further campaigning

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The Returning Officer for Rajabala constituency by-election C N Sangma has restrained NPP legislator from Raksamgre and GHADC chief Benedict R Marak from further campaigning in the constituency.

Informing about this, Chief Electoral Officer FR Kharkongor said, “The RO has issued a restraining order for campaigning to Raksamgre legislator and GHADC chief Benedict R Marak for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by intimidating the electors of the constituency and secondly, he violated the timing.”

Elaborating further, Kharkongor said, “The restraining order will be effective till the end of the campaign, which is till 27th evening.”

“The inquiry was done by the RO and the magisterial inquiry was also conducted to ascertain if he has actually gone there or not, so as per the report of the magisterial inquiry, it was established that he had indeed gone to the constituency to campaign and the allegation was true. So, on the basis of that, the Returning Officer issued the restraining order, “the Chief Electoral officer said.

He further said, “The restraining order is not only for the alleged intimidation but also because he violated the timing because the election commission, as per the COVID guidelines, has said that all campaigns should end at 7 pm, but then he went beyond 7 pm. This is another reason for the restraining order.”

Earlier, on Wednesday,  a complaint was lodged by an election agent of the Indian National Congress (INC) candidate from Rajabala Hashina Yasmin Mondal against the Raksamgre legislator and GHADC chief Benedict R Marak for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by intimidating the electors of the constituency.

In the complaint filed before the returning officer , the election agent said,”… on behalf of the party and the candidate, pray that Benedict R Marak may be taken action for the violation of model code of conduct at the earliest to ensure free and fair election.”

The complaint alleged that Marak, while interacting with the people of Tillapara near Bhaitbari on October 18, threatened the electors for not coming in large numbers to attend the meeting organised by the National People’s Party (NPP).

“Benedict Marak…intimidated the electors by saying that he is the CEM of GHADC and after seeing that the people of that village are not co-operating, he was very upset and told to all of them who did not come that if they don’t listen they will be evicted and not allowed to reside in that village,” it said.

“…it could be understood that he, being the MLA and CEM of the GHADC, he is trying to influence and compel them to vote in favour of his party (NPP) through intimidation by misusing his position and power, which is complete violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the complaint also stated.